Currently viewing the tag: "Taste of the past Recipe"

by Maxine Troxell

No one knows exactly why this dish is called Hoppin’ John. Legends sauggest that perhaps a street vendor named Hoppin’ John was selling rice and beans in Charleston.

It’s also unclear how Hoppin’ John became a New Year’s Tradition with symbolic meaning. The black-eyed peas represent coins and greens represents paper money for good luck and prosperity in the new year.

Skillet Hoppin’ John

Southern Black-Eyed Peas and Rice                       


2-3 strips uncooked bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 large onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

2 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained & rinsed (option: cook dried beans ahead of time)

1 ¾ cups chicken broth

1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

Rosemary to taste

Thyme to taste

Tabasco to top


Add chopped, uncooked bacon pieces to a sauté pan and cook until crispy.

Add butter to the pan, melt and add in the onion. Sauté until onion is soft, adding garlic for the last minute or so of cooking.

Stir in black-eyed peas, chicken broth, rice, salt, 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper, thyme, and rosemary.

Bring mixture to a boil; cover and simmer 40- 45 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Let sit 10 minutes then fluff it all up with a fork and enjoy!

Top with a dash of tabasco or your favorite hot sauce and serve with collard greens or other green vegetables.

by Maxine Troxell

No confection symbolizes the holidays quite like gingerbread in its many forms, from edible houses to candy-studded gingerbread men to spiced loaves of cake-like bread. These cookies make a great gift for friends and family.  

Gingerbread Boy Cookies


   1 cup of light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

¾ cup of molasses

¼ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. of ginger

2 tsp. of cinnamon

   2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

5 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. cloves

1 tsp. nutmeg


In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. 

With a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light in color and creamy. 

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one. 

Add molasses and vanilla extract and mix well. 

Gradually add the dry ingredients one cup at a time until all are combined and mixed well.

Divide dough into three equal parts. Roll each one out to ¼” or ¾” on a lightly floured mat and place them into the freezer for 10 minutes. The dough is easier to work with when cold. 

Using your favorite gingerbread boy cookie cutter, cut out and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Frost cookies with royal icing. If you don’t feel comfortable decorating cookies, you can just sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar.  Here is a link to a good royal icing recipe:   

by Maxine Troxell

I think I have all of the recipe books containing the Pillsbury Bake-Off winners. This Oats and Honey Granola pie was one I made one year for the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show and won 1st prize.  This pie was a winner in the 2004 Pillsbury Bake-Off.  It’s fairly easy to make. You should try to make it for the upcoming Community Show!

Oats & Honey Granola Pie


½ cup butter

¾ cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate baking chips

1½ cups packed brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup quick cooking or old-fashioned oats

4 Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey crunchy granola bars (2 pouches from 8.9 oz. box)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place pie crust in 9 inch pie plate.

In a large microwavable bowl, microwave butter on high 50-60 seconds until melted. 

Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup until blended.  Beat in salt, vanilla, and eggs. 

Stir crushed granola bars, walnuts, oats and baking chips into       brown sugar mixture.  Pour into crust-lined pan.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown. 

During the last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. 

Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

by Maxine Troxell

Spring is finally here, and Easter is just a couple of weeks away.  Time to dig out your recipes for your Easter dinner. One of my favorite dessert items is coconut cake. My Aunt Erma used to make the most delicious cakes. She had won a lot of prize ribbons for her cakes from the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, Frederick County Fair, and other baking contests. Below is her recipe for her prize-winning coconut cake.

Coconut Layer Cake


3 cups sifted cake flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 teaspoons baking powder

5 egg whites

2/3 cup Crisco

1 1/3 cups milk

1 teaspoon coconut extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, twice. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. 

Add 6 tablespoons sugar, slowly, and beat until mixture stands in soft peaks. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream Crisco and add 1 ½ cups sugar, gradually.  Cream until light and fluffy. 

Add flour alternately with milk, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Add beaten egg whites and flavorings. Beat about 1 minute.

Grease and flour three 8-inch, two 9-inch, or one 13×9-inch pan.  Pour in batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until cake springs back after touching.

Cool then frost with your favorite frosting and generously top with coconut. 

by Maxine Troxell

Christmastime is almost here.  Time to start to think of all the holiday goodies you will be baking this year, from cookies to cakes and all kinds of spicy goodies. Growing up, my mom would make all kinds of cakes. My mom and all her sisters were great bakers. I always loved applesauce cake with all the spices, raisins, and nuts. I found the recipe below in a cookbook from Damascus in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I do not remember what organization it was in, but I did copy the recipe and have used it as entries in the Community Show. It has won a lot of blue ribbons. This cake is so easy to make because there are no eggs, and you just put all the ingredients, except the raisins and nuts, into a mixing bowl. I am a fan of fruitcake, so if you like candied fruit, you can add candied fruit to the raisin and nut mixture.  At Christmastime, I like to decorate it with candied cherries and nuts. If you use a Bundt pan to bake the cake, you can put the candied cherries and the walnuts in the grooves in the bottom of the pan.

Applesauce Cake

4 cups ( minus ¼ cup for raisins and nuts)  all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar  
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup butter (melted)
2 cups raisins
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups applesauce
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease and flour 10-inch tube or Bundt cake pan.  Mix all ingredients except raisins and nuts. In a small bowl, combine raisins and nuts.  Add ¼ cup flour to raisins and nuts to coat.  Add the raisin and nut mixture to cake batter.  Using a spatula, fold raisin and nut mixture in until mixed through.  Bake in pre-heated oven for 1 to 1½ hours (until toothpick inserted comes out clean).  

Remove cake from oven and cool for 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto cooling rack.  When cake is cool, sift powdered sugar on top.  Keep cake in an airtight container.  To keep cake moist, you can wrap cake

in a cheesecloth soaked with cooking sherry.

by Maxine Troxell

Fall is in full swing. It’s a great time to bake some of your favorite deserts.  Apple Dumplings are a favorite in the Thurmont area.  An apple dumpling is a pastry filled with apple, cinnamon, and occasionally raisins. Apples are peeled and cored, placed on a portion of dough, then filled with cinnamon and sugar. Then the dough is folded over the apples, and the dumplings are baked until tender.  The recipe below is from the 1974 Maryland Grange Cookbook.

Apple Dumplings

Never-Fail Pie Crust Recipe (or use your favorite pie dough recipe)

Mix together:

4 cups flour         1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt               1 tablespoon sugar

Add 1 ¾ cups Crisco and cut into flour mixture with a knife until the mixture resembles small pieces the size of peas. Using fingers is OK!

Mix together:

1 egg (beaten with a fork)

½ cup cold water       

1 tablespoon vinegar


Sprinkle liquid slowly over flour mixture while working dough together with your fingers just until the dough can be shaped into a ball—don’t over mix. Divide into 4 balls, which is enough to make 2 double crust pies. One of these balls should make 2 apple dumplings or more, if apples are small.

If you don’t want to use all the dough at one time, put in an air-tight container and store in refrigerator for several days.

Peel and core apples and wrap a whole apple with dough (I like to slice it into a few pieces rather than wrap the whole apple).  Put wrapped dumplings in a pan.

Pour syrup (recipe below) down over the dumplings in the pan. Should have the syrup about ¼-inch deep around the dumplings. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  When only 10 mins. are remaining to bake, drizzle some syrup over the dumplings and finish baking.  If you have no left over syrup, spoon some from the pan that’s around the dumplings.

Syrup: (enough for 8 dumplings)

½ cup light brown sugar            1 cup sugar                       

½ stick butter (not margarine)              1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons flour

Mix all ingredients together.  Add 1 cup water.  Cook for 1 minute.

This Fourth of July weekend, millions of Americans will huddle around outdoor pits, ovens, and grills to slowly cook themselves meaty, patriotic dishes, slathered in sauce. Barbecue is about as red, white, and blue as American cuisine gets.

The history of grilling begins shortly after the domestication of fire, some 500,000 years ago. The backyard ritual of grilling as we know it, though, is much more recent. Until well into the 1940s, grilling mostly happened at campsites and picnics. After World War II, as the middle class began to move to the suburbs, backyard grilling caught on, becoming all the rage by the 1950s.

4 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs

1 cup water

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Dash pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, covered, 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour 1 cup sauce over ribs; turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

Drain and discard sauce from ribs. Grill ribs uncovered, over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until browned, basting with 1 cup sauce and turning occasionally.

Serve with remaining sauce. Yields 4 servings.